Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

OU athlete wins spot on USA Under 23 rowing team

Liz Parke
Lale Edil (third from right) will be competing for Team USA at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Bulgaria from July 19-23. (Liz Parke/OU Athletics photo)

Typically, people spend summer holidays grilling hamburgers, but University of Oklahoma rower Lale Edil was otherwise engaged the July 4 weekend.

Instead, she was out on the Oklahoma River, where the U.S. Olympics team trains and Edil learned to row, securing a spot in next week’s 2023 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Edil will be rowing in the 4th position in the Women’s Eight, an event with eight rowers to a boat and a coxswain to steer, with some of the best young rowers in the country.

“I’m competing alongside girls from top ten schools and Ivy Leagues,” said Edil. It’s been really cool to not only compete with the best girls, but now I’m rowing alongside them and trying to compete for gold on the international stage.”

The fact that she will be trading OU’s crimson and cream for Team USA’s red white and blue has yet to sink in.

“I don’t know if I’ve completely processed it, because this has been a goal since my freshman year of college. I was like ‘I’m not fast enough, I’ll never be fast enough.’”

Getting selected for Team USA at USRowing’s selection camp in her home state was quite an experience for Edil.

“Oklahoma has been a big part of my journey. It’s the place I was born. I learned how to row in Oklahoma City, I graduated high school in Oklahoma City, I was recruited in high school to row at OU and I’ve been competing at OU for three years. To be selected for the Team USA U23 National Team in Oklahoma City is just crazy.”

The self-doubt she felt ended up being the fuel to her fire.

“Something I’ve been working on is channeling self-doubt into self confidence. I always had those thoughts that there’s someone better than me and that there’s no way I’d make it. But I had always dreamed of it. How cool would it be to be an elite athlete?”

And an elite athlete she certainly is.

“I thought that collegiate athletics would be my max, but to be able to compete on another level with girls from all over the country and fight for the gold is going to be amazing.”

In one weekend Edil went from representing OU to representing her home state to representing the United States.

“This is my river. This is where I learned to row. This is where I rowed every single day in college. This is my home and I need to represent not only OU, I need to represent the state of Oklahoma. When I’m in Bulgaria I need to represent the United States.”

Going into her Junior year of high school, Edil’s family moved back to Oklahoma after living in Maryland and Colorado. At this time, she was playing lacrosse and swimming. She had not started rowing yet. Edil’s parents both rowed at the University of Wisconsin and recommended to their daughter that she try it. Of course, she began to row and it’s safe to say that the decision paid off.

“The coaches (at OU) were so nice and so supportive. I was amazed by the facilities at OU, it was incredible. I was on the lacrosse journey, so I had been to other schools and had seen their facilities. It didn’t compare, OU was phenomenal.”

A month later, Edil was offered a scholarship and a spot on the team. She went on her official visit during September of her Senior year of high school and committed to OU the next day.

OU boasts some of the premier women’s athletics programs in the countries with their softball and gymnastics programs becoming titans of their respective sports. In August of 2022, Joe Castiglione hired Sarah Trowbridge, a former US Olympian, to be the head coach of OU Rowing. Edil feels optimistic that “Coach Trow” can get OU Rowing to the level of OU Softball and OU Gymnastics.

“Rowing is such a hard sport, but I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be at that level. Coach Trow is feisty. She wants to win and you can see that in her coaching style. Our team has made significant gains this year… I see our program blossoming into a powerhouse. OU athletics has all the resources.”

After three years in the program and one under Trowbridge, Edil made the decision to redshirt for the upcoming season as she begins law school at OU.

“I want to be with the program as it’s developing, and we’re in our developmental stages. Next year will be another developmental year, but (the year after that) I’m hoping we’re medaling… I want to stick around as long as I can, because I do see OU Rowing going on the up.”

Barish and Jessica Edil, Lale’s parents, boast quite the pair of athletes. In addition to their daughter going to compete for USRowing, their son Barish Jr. plays lacrosse for the Turkish national team and is committed to play D1 Lacrosse for Queen’s University in North Carolina. Lale knows that her journey couldn’t have happened without her family.

“I’m so grateful for everybody in my life who has supported me: my coaches, my mentors, my parents, my family as a whole and my friends. There have been so many people in my life who have reached out to me in the past month wishing me good luck… If I didn’t have those people in my life who were constantly supporting me, I would not be in the position I am today.”

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News go to

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